Sunday, August 31, 2008

Walking the halls of the mall

"Connie Tate of Baltimore enters the mall of Marley Station early Wednesday morning where she has walked the halls for the past 20 years. Since 1988, a group of 25 people have walked the halls of Marley Station mall each morning. The group celebrated their 20th anniversary with a slide show, awards and a reception."

Mornings aren't my cup of coffee tea. I don't drink either (no caffeine), but mornings just don't mix well with me. Well, at least they didn't use to.

In saying that, for the past two months I've learned to get up early and go to work and surprisingly feel a sense of accomplishment. Why? Because I can look back around noon and see all that I've done, considering I'd still be sleeping otherwise.

A couple weeks ago not only was I up and out of my house by 7 a.m., I was shooting the people we've all heard about, but probably never witnessed. No. Not criminals. I am talking about mall walkers.

Yeah, I am talking about those people who lace up their sneakers and trek around the local mall before the all the stores open, before you ship your kids off to school and probably before your alarm clock even buzzes.

These walkers I met weren't just your average sneaker wearing, early morning workout crew though. These were a group of friends who made the drive to the same mall just about every morning to walk more than a mile indoors.

Friends, past and present, walkers new and old, gathered at the mall of Marley Station to commemorate those they lost and those they add to the squad. Why? Because they have been walking continually for 20 years.

Some of the walkers were now quite elderly and are no longer able to walk the halls, but they still attended the event. Many of them told me how they had become close friends over the years and go on trips and share dinners together.

Now that's a sense of accomplishment and a commitment if I've ever seen one. I mean, getting up early is one thing for me.

Not only do I cringe to my Foo Fighters alarm clock on my Blackberry anytime before 8 a.m., but to get up and then workout, even be it walking, would be tough for me.

Granted, I probably do it anyways and not know it, the fact that they get up and go to the same place and walk with the same people is fascinating for some small reason.

As for the assignment, other than being still half asleep, it was tough trying to come up with something interesting and visually appealing, yet that still told the story of these walkers.

I spent about 45 minutes shooting through open store fronts, reflections in the mall, and other nicely lit areas of the mall. I thought I did a nice job getting the pedestrian as well as the artistic side of the story.

In addition to only mall walker images, the group also held a ceremony which allowed me to get some more telling moments of the groups happiness as they congratulated one another on their small momentous occasion.

It was an early morning for sure, but I am glad that I've gotten used to the fact that mornings are a part of life. And like the mall walkers, I have actually started to like the fact that I am getting so much done by waking up before the sun and not sleep the day away.


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